"Yellow Flicker Beat" is a stand alone single from New Zealand singer Lorde for the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack. The song was featured at the ending of the movie during the credits.
On 31 July 2014, it was announced that Lorde would be recording songs for the soundtrack for the film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.On 23 September 2014, Lorde announced that the song, titled "Yellow Flicker Beat", would be released on 29 September 2014.
The song was written by Lorde and Joel Little and produced by Paul Epworth. "Yellow Flicker Beat" was recorded at the Lakehouse Recording Studios in New Jersey on 28 and 29 August 2014. The song was engineered by Matt Wiggins and Erik Kase Romero.
Yellow Flicker Beat" lasts for a duration of 3:52 (three minutes and fifty two seconds). The Sydney Morning Herald's reviewer Bernard Zuel characterised it as an electropop song and noted the electronic production on the song. The song features Lorde's "brooding croon" over minimal synthesisers and rattling drums. Lyrically, the song references the rise of Hunger Game's heroine Katniss Everdeen.
Writing for Spin, Carley praised the metaphorical and mature lyrics of "Yellow Flicker Beat". Meanwhile, Reed complimented on the song's production, writing that the song "fits comfortably within the 17-year-old's sonic wheelhouse." On behalf of The Sydney Morning Herald, Zuel labelled the track "another smart musical, as much as career, step by Lorde". Billboard's Steven J. Horowitz opined that Lorde's voice complemented the song's beat well, and rated it three and a half out of five stars. Chris Schulz of The New Zealand Herald wrote that "Yellow Flicker Beat" sounded too similar to Lorde's previous work, and lamented the lack of a catchy hook and chorus. Lydia Jenkin, also from the Herald, pointed out that its purpose was to promote the Mockingjay soundtrack, not a Lorde studio album, and lauded the song as "a perfect musical depiction of Katniss Everdeen". The single was ranked at number 4 on Cosmopolitan's list The 50 Best Songs of 2014.
In the United States, "Yellow Flicker Beat" debuted at number seventeen on the Billboard's Alternative Songs chart. In doing so, Lorde logged the highest launch by a female artist on the chart since 1995 when Juliana Hatfield's "Universal Heart-Beat" also debuted at number seventeen. Additionally, the single appeared on the Adult Alternative Songs at number nineteen with 5.2 million radio audience impressions in first-week audience. On the Billboard Hot 100, the single peaked at number thirty-four. "Yellow Flicker Beat" also fared on several national record charts, including Australia (number thirty-three), Canada (number fifty-one), Ireland (number eighty-three), and the United Kingdom (number ninety-nine). The single was a success in New Zealand, peaking at number four on the New Zealand Singles Chart. It was certified gold by the Recorded Music NZ.
|Premiere||November 6 2014|
|Director||Emily Kai Bock|
The music video for "Yellow Flicker Beat" was directed by Emily Kai Bock, and was released on 7 November 2014 at midnight (NZDT), when Lorde turned eighteen years old.
The video starts with Lorde singing in a faintly lit motel room, where her hair is done up in a pompadour. Afterwards, the clip showcases Lorde in several different locations: a kitchen, a highway, an airplane hangar and a 1920s-inspired cocktail party. For each location, Lorde is seen with different styles, costumes and makeups. During several scenes, Lorde "shows off her twitchy, witchy dance moves."
Billboard's Zach Dionne complimented the fashion choice on the video, calling it "awesome". Jon Blistein of Rolling Stone opined that the music video had little to do with The Hunger Games' concept; however, it did capture "the alienation and defiance that fuels Katniss." Likewise, Andrew Untergerger from Spin wrote that the clip was "disappointing [because] there's no actual Hunger Games footage in there", yet complimenting on its overall production and called it "cinematic." On behalf of MTV News, Abby Devora wrote that Lorde "is [...] truly coming into her own" and named it a welcome change from Lorde's previous videos.
Kanye West Rework
Lorde and Kanye West produced a version of the song titled "Flicker (Kanye West Rework)", which was also included on the Mockingjay – Part 1 soundtrack album, at a Malibu, California studio. The track was made available for purchase on 11 November 2014 as one of the pre-order tracks from the soundtrack. Talking about the collaboration with West, Lorde commented, "He's so private I feel weird talking about how he does stuff. I feel lucky to even be in a room with him." The track incorporates stripped-down production, "creepy textural" synthesisers and "booming, echo-laden" beats and does not feature West's vocals. According to a number of critics, the production on it is reminiscent of West's album Yeezus (2013). Emilee Lindner from MTV News deemed the rework as "creepy in an epic way."